On Virtual Enterprise Program

For the first time, high school students from High/Scope Indonesia are participating in the 3rd Merrill Lynch Global Business Challenge Competition and 12th Annual International Trade Fair to be held on 23-26 March in New York City. Participants prepared themselves for one school year under the guidance of teacher/facilitators and business partners. Indonesia is the first participant form South East Asia, in which grade 11 students were prepared for 2 semesters.

The VEP in NYC schools has drawn attention as an applied learning instructional model for business, economic, finance, and career education. The concept has grown in the United States to include programs in over 300 secondary and post secondary institutions, and since 1995 has been a prestigious program for high school with international participations.

VEP is a simulated business, established and managed by students under the guidance of teacher-facilitator and a business partner. The VEP allows students to experience all facets of being an employee of a firm in an actual business environment. Students are involved in every aspect of running business, including human resources, accounting, product development, production, distribution, marketing and sales, and they engage in virtual trading with other practice firms around the world.

A typical VE company is comprised of 5 departments: Admin, Acct/Finance, Marketing, Sales/Purchasing, Human Resources. The company has a CEO, a president, and vice president that head each department. In VEP, real goods are not actually produced, neither exchanged, nor actual currency is used, the transfer of “virtual funds” is made electronically through a web-based simulated banking system that links all US firms with the rest of the world. In this case, High/Scope students established their Nusantara Virtual Company, a company producing customized sneaker shoes. The Teacher as Facilitator role is mainly to guide and direct student process.

Corporate business partners play an integral role in helping shape the VE firm as well as the program at large. The business partner may provide advice and guidance, samples of services and product, mentoring and shadowing opportunities, etc. High/Scope students virtual company were guided by business partners from various industries, such the President Commissioner of Rajawali Group, Marketing Director of Frisian Flag, Denny Taher, President Director of Manulife Financial Indonesia, President Director of Hotel Prima Group and Mia Farahziska, and Brand Manager Sport, Golf and Kids Division of PT Mitra Adi Perkasa.

Each year, participant from all over the world gather in NY and participate in a Virtual trade fair, in which each participant were allowed to present their virtual business in a competitive marketplace with their local and global peers.

The VEP has developed a task-based curriculum that combines both academic and applied learning. The VE International Central Office (VECO) provides technical support and advice for establishing and maintaining a VE, training for participating enterprises and facilitators, and information about other practice firm networks. In addition, VE center provides day to day support for trading through its bank, taxation agency, and wholesale company.

VECO insures that academic and business standards as well as program objectives are met. Its mission is to provide leadership coordination, conflict resolution, and training for the participating schools, teachers and students. Let's hope that the Nusantara Virtual Company will perform well, and all the students will get valuable lessons from the program.
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